#Girlcrush - Alexis Toren

alexis toren the babe abroad

Tell us about yourself and your business!

My name is Alexis Toren and I’m 20 years old and I live in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada! I was born and raised in a town just outside of Vancouver called Maple Ridge. I started my first blog in high school and then rebranded and started The Babe Abroad travel blog in my grade twelve year and have been doing it for 3 years now! My business The Babe Abroad is a community of fellow travelers and others who share the interest of travel. I also recently started my own clothing label called Infatuation the Label which surrounds women empowerment and self-love.

What inspired you to start your own business?

My mom started her own blog 2 years before she inspired me to start my mine. I started writing about my passions of travel and fashion and it became my favourite thing to do in my free time. I loved meeting new people and aspiring travelers and sharing stories and helpful tips and tricks around traveling and fashion. I started my clothing label to empower women to be infatuated with themselves especially in today’s day and age with social media and low self-esteem.

Is this your full time job?

No, it’s not my full time job. I’m a full time university student majoring in psychology and I have a part time job at a restaurant as well! I have an extremely busy schedule, but I love what I do and I’m always keeping myself super busy!

alexis toren the babe abroad

How do you structure your days?

I do a lot of planning and organizing my day to ensure I get the most work done possible. It can be extremely difficult getting everything done on time for school and balance it with my businesses, but I make sure I plan my days, weeks and months in advance so I never feel too overwhelmed. 

Where and how do you work best?

I work best in local coffee shops, patios, or in my bed in my pajamas; I just love having my own space, wherever it is, to get some work done! 

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

I host giveaways all the time for the people who subscribe to my website! If you hit the link below and put your name and email in, you will be automatically put into multiple giveaways for Starbucks giftcards, makeup, trips, and much more!

Where is your business based?

My business is based wherever I’m based! Right now, The Babe Abroad is based out of Kelowna, BC and for the summer it will be based out of Calgary, Alberta and from February to June, it will be based out of Australia! I love living the laptop lifestyle! My clothing label is based online, so you can purchase from anywhere in the world!

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

The first steps were figuring out a niche I was passionate about and wanted to write about, which was travel and fashion. Then, it was all about putting out authentic content and engaging with people online consistently. 

alexis toren the babe abroad

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting an audience?

Interacting with others! It is so important to engage with the people who have the same interests as you. Also, hashtags have been a huge way to get my content seen by people who have the same interests and don’t follow me yet; it’s a great way to grow your audience and raise awareness for the type of content you create.

What has been your biggest challenges so far?

My biggest challenge has been BALANCE. Balance has always been a difficult thing in my life since there has always been so much to balance. Being a full time university student and owning my own businesses, plus being in a long distance relationship, and maintaining my friendships at school and my relationships with my family, it can be extremely difficult to give everything and everyone the attention it deserves. I’m always learning new ways to balance the priorities in my life and it’s been my biggest challenge thus far. Another huge challenge for me has been maintaining consistency. It is so important to be putting in consistent work into your business, especially when you’re first starting. So, balancing everything in my life while trying to maintain consistency was extremely difficult to overcome.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I overcame the challenges of balance and consistency by being super productive with the time that I did have and to put extra time into planning my weeks ahead of time. It is also super important to prioritize the things that I did need to get done. I’m still not perfect at this, but I keep getting better and better and getting the most work done in the time I do have.

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

This is so important because it is so easy to just give up when things get tough, but you have to remember: if having a successful business was easy, everybody would be doing it! It is extremely difficult to keep consistent but I always remember why I started in the first place and goals I want to accomplish. Sometimes if I’m really stuck in a rut, I will write down my goals and do some planning to get myself excited and creative again so I can keep moving forward. 

alexis toren the babe abroad infatuation the label

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

One thing that makes me different from the rest of the many social media personalities is that I encourage the natural look and feeling. I barely wear any makeup (mostly because I don’t even know how to put it on properly lol), I’ve never died my hair and I don’t mind wearing sweatpants and a hoodie out in public. I encourage comfort and being the natural you! I’m a huge advocate of natural beauty because I think most young girls start using makeup early and it makes them feel they can’t leave the house without it, I want to change that mindset and encourage being natural.

What is the best advice you have received recently?

The best advice I’ve received recently was from my dad. Sometimes it can be extremely hard not to compare myself to others. Whenever I get into that toxic mindset, my dad always reminds me that every single person is different and is on a different path, so you just have to focus on your path and be the best you can be and never look back. I think that’s changed my life.

What do you wish you had known when you started your blog?

I wish I was more prepared for how many haters came along with putting myself out there online. When I first started posting on Instagram regularly and launched my blog, I was in high school, and people were extremely mean and cruel to me about it. It wasn’t until I was a bit older until I realized that those people were just jealous, but I wasn’t prepared to get that type of response from the people around me, especially because blogging wasn’t as “mainstream” and common as it is today.

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My biggest influences are definitely my mom and dad since they are both entrepreneurs and my biggest supporters. My mom actually inspired me to start my blog since she had started her own blog about two years before she convinced me to try it out. I admire so many amazing bloggers and social media personalities online that have inspired me to do what I do and just the huge amounts of support I get daily from my community of people on Instagram inspires me to keep going.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

My biggest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs would be to be patient! Things take time, and sometimes quite a long time to get popular, if it all. Success will not happen overnight, like Justin Bieber’s career. It’s taken me over 3 years to hit 27k followers on Instagram by posting and engaging constantly! If you’re patient, consistent, and have a good business idea, you will start to see results and gain traction.

alexis toren the babe abroad

What tools/resources could you not work without?

I could not work without my Canon EOS M50 camera and my mom (who is also a blogger) to take pictures for me! Obviously, I rely on technology like my laptop and cell phone as well as social media networks for my businesses. Also, it’s amazing to have other young entrepreneurs to talk to and collaborate with as a resource for learning new ideas and strategies! I would not be where I am today with my business without all of the support I get through social media and my blog, it’s been amazing!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I’ve learned to not take everything so personally. A lot of people may not like me, but I’ve learned that actually has nothing to do with me, it has to do with them. It was a hard pill to swallow for me if somebody didn’t like me for absolutely no reason at all. Everybody is going through something different and I’ve learned if somebody doesn’t like me or what I’m doing, that’s their own problem which usually stems from jealously and I’ve learned to accept that there are going to be a lot of those people, especially with what I do.

Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?

I would love to see my blog and Instagram grow even bigger and see it get to a community of 100k people. I would also love to start and grow my own creative agency that specializes in creating content for businesses that catches the eye of our generation (Gen Z). Creating content is my passion and I hope to grow that passion into a business within the next 5 years. I also would like to see my clothing label gain more traction and be able to put even more money towards non-profit organizations to give back to the community. 

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @TheBabeAbroad  / @InfatuationTheLabel

Twitter: @TheBabeAbroad

Facebook: @TheBabeAbroad

Pinterest: @TheBabeAbroad

Website: www.thebabeabroad.com

Email: thebabeabroad@gmail.com

#Girlcrush - Mary Irwin

Having entrepreneurial parents who carved their own careers paths, it’s no surprise that Mary Irwin did the same for herself. Growing up in a rural town in Montana, she always aspired to be part of the rush and excitement that magazines like Vogue would showcase. Today she is a successful makeup artist with clients such as Tory Burch. Neiman Marcus. Ford, Hennessy, Amazon, Saks, NBC, and more!


Tell us about yourself and your business!

mary irwin makeup artist

I’m a makeup artist! I work on the fashion and commercial side of things, so everything from runway to advertising. 

My parents were hippies who met in a cult in San Francisco, and moved to Montana when I was young, but they were also huge on the arts - we all painted, sewed, danced and sculpted and found inspiration in nature. I picked up my first camera when I was 9, and took pictures of everything around me. I would go to the general store (that was so rural, they had a hitching post to tie your horse to!) and look at the one copy of Vogue that they would get and think “someday I’m going to be in that world.” When the Kevyn Auction books were released in the 90s, I was immediately obsessed. Fast forward a few decades, here I am.

What inspired you to start your own business?

My father has run his own business for over 50 years, and my mom has always freelanced, so I grew up watching entrepreneurs and it was just a logical step for me. I’ve had “regular” jobs before but nothing has inspired me like this industry.

Is this your full time job?

It is! I’ve been a makeup artist for 15 years and every day I’m amazed that I get to do this. I absolutely love what I do.

How do you structure your days?

My schedule is incredibly different from day to day. Some days are 14 hour days on set, and some days are purely office work. A typical day for me working on set in studio is to wake up about 90 minutes before I need to leave, make coffee and have breakfast, do some yoga or stretching at the minimum, and give myself plenty of time to get to set. Once I’m there my days can be ridiculously varied from easy and wrapping at 2 pm to getting home at 2 am. If I’m working I rarely plan anything else on those days other than maybe a dinner. 

If it’s an office day, I make sure I’ve had 8 hours of sleep, and I enjoy my morning ritual of coffee and silence before sitting down at my desk and planning the day. From follow up emails to clients and reaching out to my agency, to planning social media and updating my website, to working on my side design projects and catching up with friends there’s never enough time in the day. 

Self-care is also incredibly important! from taking care of your body with long days on set to taking care of your mind since this is also a surprisingly psychologically taxing industry.

mary irwin girlcrush

Where and how do you work best?

I love working with crews who understand what my job is and how we all fit together. I can (and have!) worked in crazy situations - from the bottoms of boats to the back of a truck, but when the crew is respectful and we’re all happy to be there and have the same goals then I’m working at my best. 

I’m also at 100% when the producer thinks about the things I need to do my job, like a table and chair that are at a good height to work, good natural light or good lighting for the makeup area, and enough time to do what the job requires all also take a day from good to great.  Sometimes the people you meet make your year just by being themselves.

Where is your business based?

I’m NYC based but work all over the world. My absolute favorite is Paris.

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

Makeup artistry has so many facets to it - there’s the skill level and artistic ability part, and then the business part. You’ll spend your entire career working to improve both, though you’ll discover that only about 20% of your time is actually spent painting faces. 

On the artistic side, I painted and took photographs my entire life so I already had a good understanding of color theory and balance but needed to have practical, on set experience and time touching faces. I got a makeup counter job so that I could learn while getting paid, and that was 17 years ago. I also assisted as many artists as I could find for the first 6 years. 

Oh the business side, taking some classes in how to run a business and reading about attracting and maintaining clients was a big help, along with contacting artist agencies to assist their artists which is 100% a MUST for any makeup artist.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

Pre social media it was through editorial and word of mouth referrals. Now, I’d say editorial, referrals, AND social media which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s pretty amazing that you can have someone from the other side of the world know all about you based on a device you hold in your hand. Also, the teams I work with tend to refer each other a lot, since we all know each others strengths and work ethics.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

mary irwin girlcrush

There’s a lot of over saturation in the industry with tons of artists all going for the same jobs, rates getting lowered, and many clients not understanding the value that a great makeup artist brings to set, so working with all of those factors can be a challenge. 

Every day is a new adventure! A few years ago my Mom got incredibly sick and almost died and I took a lot of time off to go be with her, which was difficult both emotionally and financially. It also made me think differently about the kinds of jobs I was doing, and the kind of artist I was versus what I wanted to be. I actually got married AND left my agency of 9 years because of the realizations I had.

Also, a few years ago my husband was offered a great job, but in another state. It was too good an opportunity to turn down, so we commute to see each other and we have households in two states, which can be complicated.

How did you overcome these challenges?

For me, I find that I break adversity down into manageable pieces. If you look at the whole thing as a mountain you’ll never get across it, so it’s truly step by step. I think about the desired end result, and what kinds of things need to happen to get there and work on them one at a time. 

I looked at my goals and what might have to happen to achieve them and essentially changed my entire life, from representation to housing to mental health, since this can be a tough industry. There’s a LOT of rejection which can wear on you and you have to learn that it is very rarely personal. 

Another thing that was hard for me, and I think hard for a lot of women was realizing that a situation doesn’t have to be abusive for it to be bad. I feel that life should be a constant search for greatness, or at least to be better than you were yesterday.

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

I think about how incredibly grateful I am to have a job I love, that I’m good at, and that I want to do. I feel the same way about this career that I feel about love in general - that it’s a choice. You can fall into a good situation whether personal or professional, but staying in that situation is a choice you make every single day and you’re there BECAUSE of your choices. 

I also have an incredible group of friends who’ve been like family to me and we go and do things that spark joy - museums, design shows, film, theater, nature, dancing.. There’s an amazing world out there.

mary irwin makeup girlcrush
mary irwin makeup girlcrush

Katheryn Winnick for Real Style - Makeup by Mary Irwin

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

This will sound a bit egotistical, but I don’t really feel that I have competitors. Most of my friends are also makeup artists or creatives - and for me at least, I find great joy in helping them. There’s a million makeup artists out there, and I want to know that if I’m not available, I have a trusted group of artists I can refer to them and know that we have each others backs. I also never, EVER feel that anyone owns a client. That’s a dangerous thought process. If you think you can’t be replaced in a second you’re wrong.

What is the best advice you have received recently?

As an artist, you need your home to be your sanctuary. When you come back at the end of a long day on set, you need to walk in your front door and feel like you have a safe place to breathe, to create, to be inspired and to recharge. Artists have and create vision, and we need to be surrounded by inspirational things to bring that vision to life. 

Let me tell you, no one was more surprised than me to find that a new home environment was what I needed to help improve my career!

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

That you’re going to work harder than you ever thought possible, end up in situations you didn’t know existed, feel betrayed by people you trusted, have people you barely know help you through doors you never thought you could open - but the most important thing is that if you feel like you know everything, you should leave. The journey is really the point.

Three products I love:

Viseart Eye shadows -buttery, pigmented gorgeousness. I know that no matter what situation I’m in, from crazy lighting to bad weather, these hand pressed pigments are going to last forever, show up just the way I want them to, and always have my back. 

Golden Door Golden Face Oil - This paragon and sulfate free blend of 19 different oils includes Sea Buckthorn, Rosehip, Squalene and Lavender and absorbs almost instantly on the skin. I love to blend it into a cream foundation to make the skin look like it’s glowing from within. 

Surratt Concealer - these little palettes pack a big punch. with a color corrector, concealer and a powder all in one compact, you can do an entire complexion with one. Also, the coverage is adjustable from sheer to full coverage, and the colors are artist developed and you have a kit necessity.

Where else can we find you?

Website

Instagram

Facebook

#Girlcrush - Ivy Lauren

ivy avenue

Tell us about yourself and your business!

Hi! My name is Ivy and I am a wife, a mother and I also own a little business called Ivy Avenue! It is an online boutique with comfortable, affordable clothing along with some handmade jewelry that I make at home. I started it in 2017 and I have had so much fun doing it! It is a LOT of hard work figuring it out and trying to be successful but it has been an amazing experience!

We are currently living in Salt Lake City, Utah while my husband is in school. Along with working on my business some of my hobbies include homemaking, cooking, working out, being outside and hanging out with my husband and baby boy!

ivy lauren

What inspired you to start your own business?

In April 2017 I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby and I was about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. I was working unbelievably hard in school and I was working so things were pretty crazy! I really, really wanted to be able to spend time with my baby at home once he was born but I knew that with my husband also being in school full-time, we needed to find a way to make ends meet.

I also have always been super interested in having my own business. As a little girl I spent tons of time setting up lemonade stands and employing my little brothers in it with me. When I got older I started a little program at my house where parents could drop off their kids for a few hours and we did crafts and fun little art projects. In high school I started doing wedding photography and loved it. I have always just had a hunger for creating something new that was mine and that I could watch grow. I have always felt such an urge to own a business- especially one that was based around cute clothing!

So, after talking with my husband and doing a lot of research, I decided it was now or never, and I just went for it!

Is this your full time job?

Yes, along with working a little bit as a social media influencer and being a mom (of course) 🙂

How do you structure your days?

I am big into keeping a planner and writing everything down. Usually the night before I will go over everything I have to do the next day chronologically. I like to wake up and try to get things done before my son wakes up. Then I spend time with him making breakfast, playing, running errands, etc. During his nap I work again and then at night when my husband comes home we all spend time together and I am back at it at night after our son falls asleep!

ivy lauren

Where and how do you work best?

I work my best in my little office, with the door shut and with music going. I definitely am more efficient when I know that my first priority (my son) is taken care of. If I know he is, I feel like I can do anything! A big diet Dr. Pepper doesn’t hurt either ;)

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

Right now you can use code ‘SPRING2019’ and get 20% off anything from our site.

Where is your business based?

Salt Lake City, UT

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

ivy lauren

I took an entrepreneurship class during the last semester of college and that education really helped me know where to begin! I first had to think of the idea (obviously), the type of business I wanted (I decided on an LLC), my target demographic along with doing some market research and coming up with a name. I started by registering my business with the state of Utah and then with the federal government. I was young and honestly didn’t know much about business then so I was honestly just learning as I went!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

Social media- definitely. Especially Instagram.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Finding new customers and building a following.

ivy lauren

How did you overcome these challenges?

Still trying to figure it out!! Trying to stay on top of social media/online advertising trends is important for an online business.

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

I find support from those around me. My husband, my dad, my mom and my close friends are always so good at helping me to stay motivated and feel empowered.

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

Because my business is still fairly small, I like to be the one to deal with any customer service e-mails. Instead of getting cliché responses from outsourced employees, I make sure that I am the one to communicate with customers. It can be difficult to keep up at times but I feel that intimacy is so important in a world where everything is automated. I want to personally make sure that every customer is satisfied whether that means talking on the phone about something, processing returns, or helping someone find the right fit.

What is the best advice you have received recently?

“Celebrate the success of others. High tide floats all ships.”

In the business-world, everything is extremely competitive. I have always been a proponent of capitalistic ideals and know that in order to have a successful business, you need to work hard and be competitive. However, I have learned that it can be very beneficial to cheer on and work with people who have the same goals as you. I have learned so many things from my fellow boutique-owning-girls and know that it is so important to stick together!

ivy lauren
ivy lauren

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

Oh man, so many things! I could write a novel! The biggest thing would be to have been more confident in myself. Stop questioning everything. Stop comparing. Stop worrying. Just go for it!

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

One of my biggest influences in my life has been my dad. I know he isn’t technically a “girl boss” 😉 but growing up I watched as he worked so hard to build a business out of practically nothing. When I was little he was in an accident that left him with a badly broken back. I watched as he and my mother struggled over years to get finances together and to create the life they wanted. My dad started all kinds of small businesses and worked endlessly to get them up off the ground. He has taught me so much about business and enduring when things get rough (as they always do).

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Starting and running a successful business takes someone with the confidence to not care what naysayers think. Odds are you will have at least a few people who will think you’re crazy and try to bring you down. You don’t have enough time to deal with that if you’re going to be successful! :)

What business tools/resources could you not work without?

Since my business is done mainly online, a lot of my favorite resources have to do with technology. I LOVED using WordPress to create and design my webiste. I do

a lot of social media and I love using Canva and Adobe Spark to create beautfiul, eye-catching posts. Id recommend those apps to anyone!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

Wow, so many! I feel like when starting a business (or doing anything 'big’ in life) you really learn who your friends are. Like I said above, there WILL be people who think you're crazy/not qualified enough to run a business and that was kind of a disappointing lesson for me to learn, but an important one. I was able to see how many of my friends and family members truly supported me (not just through purchasing anything, but just by being a positive influence in my life) and I am so grateful for them! I learned that I ALWAYS want to be the type of girl that will support my friends and family in their endeavors and always have their backs.

Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?

I would love to really focus more on jewelry and be able to produce and create unique, beautiful designs! I'd love for my audience and customers to grow and eventually I'd love to hire more people to help grow the brand.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @ivy.avenue

Facebook: @ivyavenueboutique

www.shopivyavenue.com

shopivyavenue@gmail.com

#Girlcrush - Laura Prado

The Weekend Gypsy Logo

Tell us about yourself and your business!

My name is Laura and I’m happiest when I’m designing, crafting, playing dress up, or doing something creative! I have a BFA in fashion design, and started my business way back in 2014 (originally a jewelry line). My entrepreneurial journey was paused for several years while I worked as a design assistant for a menswear fashion brand. It didn’t take me long to realize the 9-5 desk job was simply NOT for me. I took the plunge, resigned, and really began to focus on my own dream business in 2015. After freelancing and dabbling in a few projects here and there, I ultimately used my background in fashion illustration and visual art to launch and develop my brand: TWG Designs - a place for digital scrapbook papers, hand drawn clip art, planner printables, invitations, logos, art prints, stationery, & more! (www.twgdesigns.etsy.com)

TWG Designs

What inspired you to start your own business?

From a very early age, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. I’m an only child, and slightly introverted, so I feel most productive when I set my own goals, schedule, and work solo. Also, the sheer fear of working to make someone else’s dream come true while setting mine on the back burner was enough of a motivating factor to start my own business. 

Is this your full time job?

I am beyond grateful to say yes, it is!

You also have an amazing blog, what inspired you to start blogging?

Laura Prado The Weekend Gypsy

While I was (miserably) working my 9-5 desk job, I found myself constantly inspired by, and finding a community through, other people’s blogs. I loved reading about their experiences, advice, and creativity. Before I resigned from my 9-5 job, I looked forward to the WEEKENDS (hence my blog’s name) so that I could dive into my creative passions and document them on my own blog for others to be inspired as well. I quickly launched my blog, The Weekend Gypsy, (www.weekend-gypsy.com) as the main hub and umbrella under which all of my creative weekend projects and soon-to-be business(es) would live.

How would you describe your blogging style?

I like to say my blog is like the Chinese fried rice of blogs. It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that. But hopefully, it all comes together in the end to create a cohesive dish full of complimentary flavors! I like to think that I’m not TOO serious about blogging, and write as if I’m just talking to a friend. 

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

Although I don’t make a full-time income solely from my blog, I still consider it part of my profession. This day and age, if you have a brand or business, you simply MUST have a blog to go alongside it. I see my blog as a complimentary addition to my brand, with fun content that my current and potential clients can enjoy and take some value out of. It’s also a creative outlet for me to share other passions aside from just my digital artwork for TWG Designs (www.twgdesigns.etsy.com) . I get to play with fashion and styling, special effects makeup during halloween, and even sprinkle in a few DIY craft projects when inspiration hits! 

What has been your most successful blog post?

My most successful post was my Euro Trip Travel Diary. In this post, I talk all about a 16 day itinerary to Greece, and Italy. It’s an in depth post with tons of details about where we stayed, how we got around, where we ate, and I even shared some tips on packing everything in just a carry-on.

TWG Designs

Where and how do you work best?

I have 2 work modes:

  1. Solo, in my home office, on a sunny day, with some good background music, and a hot cup of coffee at arms reach

  2. Solo, in my home office, at 3am, in complete and utter silence, and a chocolate cookie at arms reach

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

Not at this time, but I do have a monthly “best seller sale” where one of my most popular artwork collections is 25% off during the last few days of the month. I also have a VIP club where you receive a coupon code upon sign up that you can use unlimited times in the shop! 

Where is your business based?

My business is based in sunny Miami, FL

Laura Prado
Laura Prado

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

Because my parents are also entrepreneurs, they advised me to lay the groundwork and and start by taking care of all the official business-y things first: incorporate with the state, set up a small biz bank account, purchase domains, etc. From there, I developed my branding, and then, I got to work on designing and creating content. 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

Instagram has been a great platform for me to grow my business. Because it’s so visual in nature, it goes hand in hand with the products I create! I post consistently and vary my content between products and inspiration. I also make sure to reply to everyone as best as I possibly can, and have created lasting friendships over time within my instagram community. Daily Pinterest activity (another highly visual platform) has also helped me grow a following by linking back to many of my blog posts, product pages, and websites - a great way to increase traffic and get your brand noticed.

TWG Designs
TWG Designs

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

For a while, I was creating content, designing products and artwork for my business, while also taking on small freelance gigs, AND designing custom commissioned artwork for other small businesses. Not to mention wearing all of the other hats a solopreneur wears on a daily basis. It became a challenge when I realized I was completely burnt out, and spread way too thin - leaving myself with a lack of new creative ideas and inspiration. My work/life balance was completely off and I began to loose my joy for design.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I had to be brutally honest with myself, and determine that my sanity was more important than taking on all the jobs or opportunities that presented themselves to me. I gave myself a max limit of projects per month, and established strict boundaries between work and play. This not only helped me feel excited about design again, but it helped me level up the quality of my work as I was able to dedicate more time and headspace to each project and collection. I will continue to follow this workflow until I am ready and able to hire on some help and expand my business into a team! :) 

Laura Prado

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

Apart from developing and embracing my own personal design aesthetic (as most creatives do!), I try to constantly evolve my brand by developing a new product category, service, or membership club. I also think my blog helps to distinguish myself, because it allows me to connect with my clients on a more personal level. I aim to be relatable, approachable, and easy-going with everything that I post, create, or sell. 

What is the best advice you have received recently?

This advice comes from my husband: It’s OK to say NO. As a chronic people-pleaser, I literally dread ever having to say no to someones request, proposal, or favor. Over time, I have realized that doing TOO much is worse than not doing anything at all, because nothing get’s done to its full potential, and you risk that dreaded burnout. 

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

When I started my business and really dove head first into full-time solopreneurship, I had this little grey cloud of doubt and fear constantly lingering over my head. I wish I had known that my motivation and drive would be the perfect propellors to get my business’ momentum going, and that as long as I was following my true passion and enjoying myself along the way, there was nothing to fear and things would fall into place when the timing was right.  

What do you wish you had known when you started your blog?

I wish I had taken a bit more time to learn about SEO, coding, and the backend part of blogging. I’m still learning about all of that now, but I’ve had to backtrack and do a lot of admin work on older posts to get them up to speed. But, at the same time, I don’t regret starting before being 100% “ready” because I’m a true believer that done is better than perfect… and there will never be an ideal moment to take the plunge and start something that excites/scares you. You just have to go for it, and figure it out along the way. 

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My biggest influences always circle back to fashion. From the OG magazines (Vogue, WWD, etc.) to the newer fashion + lifestyle brands with amazing aesthetics that are killing it (both on the ‘gram AND in their industry). But, overall, I am mostly inspired by the way a brand makes me FEEL through their marketing and visuals - ie. Rifle Paper Co., Harlow & Grey, and Anthropologie, to name a few. 

What advice would you give to other bloggers and entrepreneurs?

Stay true to your passion, be consistent, and have an organized (but flexible) plan of action. 

TWG Designs

What blogging and business tools/resources could you not work without?

I love my iPad and apple pencil, all Adobe Creative Cloud programs, and Squarespace. Oh, and Instagram! Duh!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I’ve learned that the best work happens when you are happy and well taken care of (self-love is a real thing we all need to prioritize). I’ve learned that sometimes planning an intentional day “off” to do something completely out of your routine sparks inspiration, which in turn leads to new opportunities for growth. I’ve learned that there is no perfect path to reach your goal, and it’s ok to go with the flow when things take an unexpected turn. Trust your intuition and follow your bliss. 

Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?

I would like to evolve and grow into a lifestyle brand and creative community. I’d love to be able to give back to those who might need a bit of a push or motivation to start living and creating their own dream life through resources, classes, and an online networking platform for introverted creatives to work together in a supportive, inspiring, and positive space!  

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @theweekendgypsy & @twgdesigns

Facebook: www.facebook.com/twgdesignspage 

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/weekendpins 

Website: www.weekend-gypsy.com

Email: hello@weekend-gypsy.com

#Girlcrush - Sarajane Case

We’re totally #girlcrushing on Sarajana Case, the founder of Enneagram + Coffee. Sarajane started an enneagram Instagram account in December of 2018 and not even 5 months later, she has nearly 300k followers!

If you’re unfamiliar with the enneagram, here’s a brief introduction from The Enneagram Institute:

“The Enneagram can be seen as a set of nine distinct personality types, with each number on the Enneagram denoting one type. It is common to find a little of yourself in all nine of the types, although one of them should stand out as being closest to yourself. This is your basic personality type.”

For more information on the enneagram, Sarajane Case’s “Enneagram Basics” episode of her podcast, Enneagram & Coffee, is a great place to start!

ENNEAGRAM COFFEE

To discover your enneagram type, you must complete a brief personality test. If you’re curious and want to learn your enneagram for fun, here’s a free test. If you’re serious about learning about the enneagram and your personality type, we suggest taking a more in-depth exam, like this one.

Our types:
Katie - 4wing5
Maddie - 8wing7
Sarajane - 7wing8


Tell us about yourself and your business!

Hi! I’m Sarajane Case the creator of Enneagram and Coffee an Instagram community & Podcast. I work with people to use the enneagram to fast track their self-awareness, bring ease in their relationships, business and relationship to self. I do this through my free content as well as our online community Club Enneagram

ENNEAGRAM & COFFEE

What inspired you to start your own business?

I’ve been in business for myself since 2007. I kind of happened into it as a wedding
photographer and didn’t look back. ( except for that one year where I tried my hand at working for someone else - *hi 2015* ) I savor the freedom that running a business offers me. Freedom in location, structure and creative expression. 

Is this your full time job?

It is! 

How do you structure your days?

I have a pretty consistent daily routine. I do my best to take this with me when I’m traveling too. I travel 2-3 weeks out of most months and this routine helps it to feel a bit more normal. 

6am - wake up and wash face
6:30am - connect with myself  ( either through yoga, pulling cards or meditating ) 
7:00am - breakfast & getting ready
7:30am - head out to either the office or a coffee shop 
8:00am - morning pages and time blocking my to do list 
9:00am - work on the most creative project first
11:30am- emails
12:00pm - lunch
2:00pm - back to work ( usually on more logistical tasks or meetings ) 
4:00pm - wrap up for the day 

ENNEAGRAM & COFFEE

Where and how do you work best?

I change my environment a lot. I thrive with change. I have an office that I work in most days but I also travel a lot and love working in different coffee shops or hotel lobbies. I very very rarely work from home. I find it easy to get distracted and I also appreciate the separation between work & home. 

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

I am offering 50% off of the first month of club enneagram for #girlcrush readers! Just use the code: #GIRLCRUSH to receive your discount! 

Where is your business based?

We are based in Asheville, NC! 

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

The first thing I did was start building an audience and giving away free/helpful content! 

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

Building community on Instagram with people in my industry and people who speak to a similar audience! Also creating helpful, inspiring and shareable content! 

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Definitely the visibility aspect. As my business becomes more and more successful I’ve had to come to grips with how much to share and trust that people are rooting for me to succeed not waiting for me to fail. 

ENNEAGRAM & COFFEE

How did you overcome these challenges?

I thought about my approach to other people online. Honestly, people don’t think about us as much as we think about ourselves. The truth is that people don’t really care what we’re doing and if they do, it has more to do with their relationship to life than to us.

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

I find it really helpful to do a re-check on my priorities. A lot of times when things feel overwhelming or overbooked I am able to pinpoint relatively quickly what is actually a necessity for my business and what isn’t. I knock everything off of my list except the essentials and then let myself rest until I’m ready to get back to it! 

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I want to teach enneagram from a place of light-heartedness, full self-acceptance and approachability. I don’t really see anyone in my personal industry as a competitor. It’s my hope that I can create a web of people who do what we do to amplify the message of the enneagram and get people the support that they deserve. The more enneagram teachers getting business the better in my opinion! 

What is the best advice you have received recently?

“You should start an enneagram instagram account.” Best advice of my life. 

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

I wish someone would have told me to set my business up with a financial plan to move froward. At this point all decisions I make have to be scaleable and I had to retroactively create financial systems that support the income that we make. I wish I’d set it up like that over 10 years ago. 

ENNEAGRAM & COFFEE

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

My biggest influence is likely my best friend and business associate Tyler J. McCall he pushes me on a regular basis to do more than I often feel capable of. I admire Glennon Doyle Melton for showing up relentlessly for the rights of other people. I first dove into working with the enneagram because of Suzanne Stabile & Ian Cron

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

You aren’t a work robot. Listen to your energy levels and adjust accordingly. Creativity is a necessity in our industry and yours gets diminished when you burn your candle at both ends.

What business tools/resources could you not work without?

Definitely Kajabi, Honeybook, Canva and booking.com

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I’ve been so surprised by how much having a personal brand has mattered to me. It wasn’t something I did intentionally but branding as myself has allowed me to pivot careers relatively seamlessly over the years and that has meant the world to me.

Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?

I would love to scale club enneagram and other programs to bring in 3 million a year. I would love to invest in long-term payouts and have written at least 3 books by then. Much more speaking and writing!


#Girlcrush - Maddie Clark

This week’s #girlcrush is our very own Maddie Clark! Maddie is a digital media guru and content marketing specialist right here at Girlcrush Collective. We can’t wait for you to get to know her!

Tell us about yourself and your blog!

I’m Maddie Clark, a dog mom, and as of today – 23! I lived in New York for 5 years, but now I call fabulous Las Vegas home! I came to NYC from Arizona for college where I received my Bachelors in Media, Culture & the Arts with a concentration in Media Journalism. In high school I was known as an open person with a blunt personality and I was praised for it. But then college happened and I was shamed for it. So, to fight through all of the BS that my peers were saying about my personality, I started writing about taboo topics for my blog. My roommates and I had a motto of “Nothing is taboo in this house” and I kind of live my life with that. In a sentence, my blog is a lifestyle blog where I write about topics people may find hard to talk about but knowing they’re not alone in their crazy misadventures.

maddie clark girlcrush

What inspired you to start your own blog?

It sounds sad, but it really turned into a huge blessing. I witnessed an awful terror attack in Downtown Manhattan on Halloween 2017. I was pretty traumatized by it and couldn’t shake it for a while. I never went to therapy or talked to many people about it, but what I did find comforting was that I was able to distract myself by writing these bulky essays for my last semester in college. It became so therapeutic where I began to write my feelings out into stories on my Google Drive. Then I was inspired by Katie (hi!) to put it all in the open and it just kind of took off from there!

How would you describe your blogging style?

Like I said, I’m a blunt kind of personality. My blogging style is pretty casual because I don’t want readers to feel like they’re reading a prepared essay. I want them to be able to want to follow along for 3,000 words and not realize that they just read 3,000 words. If it gets too professional or too cut and dry, then that’s when I lose my credibility as an open person and start to look like a machine operated word processor.

I also like to write things that are relatable. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading blogs that are those idyllic kind of lifestyles where you’re able to travel every month or be able to see the inside of a model’s fitness routine. But sometimes you need to read things that are more vulnerable & humbling to remember you’re not in this alone.

Can you tell us about your ideal reader?

To be honest, I don’t have one in mind. But, I think that’s kind of the point of my blog where any person can read it and find something about it interesting. Not to say that I think I’m the most interesting Millennial out there, but I do think there can be something for anyone.

To take a shot in the dark, an ideal reader would be someone with an open mind and heart. I want readers that know expressing emotions and knowing yourself is something that is easy to suppress; however, being able to admit your shortcomings or identify issues within yourself will only make you stronger at the end of the day.

maddie clark girlcrush

How do you structure your days?

I’m still figuring that part out! I at least take my pup out to the park every morning and work after that! However, if I do get a morning or two to myself, then I’ll take it easy and maybe look at Pinterest for some inspiration. Then I’ll block out times for blogging and write those down in my planner. It’s kind of all a balancing act, each day is never the same!

Is blogging your profession or hobby?

Currently, it is my hobby. I’m getting more pumped as the days go by to make it my profession. I don’t think I will be 100% a “professional blogger” because I do have a lot of great opportunities going on with Girlcrush Collective and InstaCrush. But who’s to say that can’t happen with blogging, too?

What has been your most successful blog post?

Ironically, the posts that are the most successful have been the ones that made me question if I should even post them. I had such anxiety after publishing my blog “I Have a Diagnosed Mental Illness and It’s Okay” but that ended up my most shared post with the most unique readers than any of my other stories.

A close second was my recap of the terror attack on Halloween. Both those stories I didn’t want to post because I knew of the awful things people could respond back with. But, I did it anyways, and those two are really the reasons why I attracted readers and kept them.

Describe your writing process from start to finish.

It’s really not that interesting! If I have something in my head, I have to sit down ASAP and write it all out. And that same day I’ll post a blog. I’m not really a planner and if I do, I end up getting writer’s block instead of a blog.

Where and how do you work best?

I love sitting in Starbucks. I know that’s so a “NYC wannabe writer” thing to do, but people watching also brings inspiration. Whether it be a guy who looks like a past love or a situation of a mother and daughter, I’ll start writing about what that reminds me of and all of a sudden I’ve rehashed another story.

maddie clark girlcrush

What were the first few steps you took to get your blog up and running?

Well, it took forever to try to figure out what I even wanted to write about. There was no way, in my head, that there were several people out there who wanted to read about my life, problems, past, stories, etc. But once I started writing a little more in depth about who I was and my feelings, that is when I started to see that this is what people were interested in. Not some BBQ restaurant in Battery Park City.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your blog and attracting an audience?

To be completely honest? Tagging my mom in every post. Because once she’s tagged in it, her friends will see it. And not to think highly of myself, but her friends take a huge interest in me (it’s literally because they love my mom so much therefore their default is to love me, too.) They’ll share it to their kids who are about my age or within the Millennial generation and that is where most of my views come from.

But I do try and plan it to where I’ll start posting about my blog during the high traffic times on my social media where my friends on both sides of the nation will be able to see it. It also doesn’t hurt that my dog is super cute and I get some views from some of her Instagram followers, too!

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

How to keep freakin’ writing! Writer’s block is such a real thing - I don’t even know how writers are able to do this for novels while I’m here twiddling my thumbs over a blog! And I’ll admit, I’m not the most consistent person ever, either. So, I can go a whole month without writing, then all of a sudden I’m writing twice a week. Finding that pattern and sticking to it is difficult, but I think I’m managing!

How did you overcome these challenges?

Well, when I get writer’s block, I tend to sit down and look through old photos or call my mom. I actually at one point asked her, “Hey, are there any childhood traumas you can think of that I can write about?” It’s not even to gain attention or use that as a topic for a blog, but I just need something to think about and write about, even if it’s not for my blog. My head always moves at 100 mph. So if I’m writing about, let’s say, my childhood dog passing away, the blog itself could end up being about my stepdad’s family get togethers. It all just takes getting started to get things going for me.

maddie clark girlcrush

How do you keep motivated through difficult times?

See, that’s a hard one. Because I can look at everything and say to myself, “You’re doing fine, stop worrying.” But then there is that feeling of “If I stop now, I’m just not going to start again.” And I find myself there a lot of times. But every now and again, I talk to old friends or see a comment on one of my posts. Their words speak encouragement to me and show that there is a reason why I’m writing. Having them and their sentiments on my mind fuel me up for the next chapter.

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I love this question. I find myself to be uniquely unqualified to be giving anyone else life lessons. The reason why I share my stories of failures and successes is because I want to learn more about everyone else’s! When we get all of that crap out in the open, then what’s left to do than learn from our mistakes or others. I don’t see many bloggers currently doing that. I also like to think not a lot of them are showing everyone else their emotions, good or bad, to their readers in the way that I am. I mean, I start some blogs out by saying “Ok so today I’m telling you about my childhood trauma, buckle up bitches!”

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?

I wish I would’ve known to be a lot more careful with time. Time can make or break your success on any media platform and I wish I would have waited and researched that more before diving head first into this. And on the same note, I wish I had the advice/resources to plan out my ideas and posts, at first. But, like I said, I’m not a planner. I’m very impulsive. I’m like a personified shrugging emoji.

What blogging tools/resources could you not work without?

Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. Although a lot of my posts are about my own life and experiences, I do look to Pinterest when I’m hitting writer’s block. First, I don’t go searching for a topic. I go through things on my boards and see what I’m even interested in. I let that take me down a long spiral down to finally get a revelation for a topic. Also, coffee doesn’t hurt to have around when you’re pulling all nighters or early mornings.

maddie clark girlcrush

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

If we’re talking celebs - Jenna Marbles. Even though she’s a YouTuber, I try to mimic the way she lives her life as much as I can. She’s not to the point where she’s carefree, because she cares a lot, and it’s usually about everyone around her. But, she’s really one of those people who is truly content with her life and wants everyone to be as happy as she is. In my writing, I try to exemplify it by being authentically myself while also cultivating that same unapologetic vibe within my readers.

And not to be a brown-noser, but honestly Katie has given me a great boost with helping me get started with making everything to the extent of where it is now! It really wouldn’t be possible without her support!

What advice would you give to other bloggers?

Be yourself. 100% of the time be 100% yourself. Even though it seems uncomfortable, and it can be VERY uncomfortable, it will be worth it. You gain so much insight to yourself that you never realized before. Blogging will be a great therapy for you, too. If you ever need to process your feelings and try to see the deeper meaning of them, write. Blog it out. If you’re not about that kind of writing, then make sure your personality is woven into every sentence of whatever it is that you’re writing. Recipes, workouts, DIY - always make it with your essence billowing through.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

In one of my posts I wrote about being scared to be emotionally intimate with people, I learned a lot about who I am as I was writing this. I thought writing would give people insight to know who I am through stories of my life, but I never thought I would figure out more about me while writing them. Not only that post, but even in ones where I didn’t feel they were really supposed to be eye-opening for me. It’s always fun to reread posts to see how far I’ve come since a story or even from where I was when I wrote it. It is an experience where you’ll end up seeing yourself very clearly, very quickly.

Where would you like your blog to be 1 year from now?

Obviously I would love for it to gain double the followers and be able to *finally* be somewhat consistent in posting! We’re in the process of making her all prettied up so I’m so excited to see what that turns out like! I want to be able to have guests on where I can vlog, tie in a podcast, and do things like have someone co-write a blog, as well. I want more interaction at the end of the day. I like doing it my way, but having people involved will always make it more enjoyable.

What social media outlets do you use?

Instagram: @TheMaddieClark

Twitter: @TheMaddieClark

Facebook: Madison Tanner-Hunter Clark

Pinterest: @madmadlife

Website: www.maddieclarkandlife.com

Email: mthclark4@gmail.com

#Girlcrush - Stacy Verbiest

Stacy Verbiest is the CEO of W!NK, a CBD wellness and skincare company established for women, by women!

hint hint wink wink

Tell us about yourself and your business!

I am a mother of 4 amazing children and serial entrepreneur always looking for ways to make life better by following trends and  exploring my creative side. Early 2015, a close friend was battling breast cancer and vaped marijuana on a daily basis to relieve the side effects from her chemotherapy.

Being "high" most of the day, she found it hard to raise her 4 kids and maintain the household. I started searching the marketplace for natural products without the intoxicating effects and ventured into my first dispensary.  When I asked the bud-tender what he would prescribe he went right to product that was equivalent to what she was self-medicating with.

That night I sat my family down and told them I was creating a brand of therapeutic cannabis to ease the mental, emotional and physical side effects of female related conditions.  WINK launched the summer of 2015 and today we have over 20 products catering to women's needs from vape therapy to tinctures and a full collection of skincare.

stacy verbiest wink
stacy verbiest wink

 What inspired you to start your own business? 

I grew up with a father who owned his own businesses.  He was hard working and very successful in all aspects of his life from family to faith to work.  I was always inspired by him and thankfully he gave me the gift to create. I graduated from USC and immediately got into fashion working for a New York designer.  From there I started my own fashion company, then home accessory company and now WINK.  To have the ability to create has always been my inspiration.

wink cbd

Is this your full time job?

Yes, finally all four of my children are at a place in life where they are self-sufficient.  I have two in college and two in high school.  Children in school full-time has opened the door for me to focus all of my time and energy growing WINK.  

How do you structure your days?

 My day starts out each morning driving my kids to their bus stop at 6:30am.  I get a quick workout in, eat and open my computer.  I start with emails, orders and scheduling calls.  Then I am off to my warehouse to oversee production and distribution and meet with my manufacturing team.  I head over to my shipping department to confirm incoming and outgoing shipments.  I peak into my accounting department for a thumb's up that my books are updated and business is thriving (wink, wink).  I then head back to my office and continue with the day to day operations of setting up events, coordinating PR and social media, and getting updates from my sales representative and distributors.  To structure my nights so I can shut off my creative mind and sleep, a simple CBD gel-cap does the trick every time!

wink cbd
wink cbd
wink cbd

 Where and how do you work best?

I'm fortunate in this day and age with technology to have the ability to manage W!NK from anywhere; whether it is in my office, on a plane, or in my car, I can multi-task.  I do however work best in my office where I can be hyper-focused without interruptions.

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

Every month we run contests on Instagram (@loveatfirstwink) for the opportunity to receive one of our therapeutic products.

 Where is your business based?

Our  company is located in Southern California where we do all of our manufacturing and distribution.

wink cbd

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

After my first trip into a local dispensary where I discovered there were no natural, organic cannabis products for women, I started WINK.  I began mapping out all of the mental, emotional and physical side effects women suffer from and one by one began to develop products. During this process I came up with a name and started branding the look and feel and the image behind WINK.  I began to source the highest quality hemp, oils, butters, salts, sugars, etc. to start creating formulations.  Within 6 months, the brand was created and we started selling!.

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

We have been fortunate to be recognized by many well-known magazines, media and technology companies such as Allure, PopSugar, Conde Naste, Well + Good, USA Today, French Toast and many more.  We have a successful social media campaign and PR director who brings new products to life.  Our combined efforts drive traffic to our website where we are able to educate women on the benefits of CBD and ultimately generate sales.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Our biggest challenges to date are working around the restrictions the FDA has placed on social media and selling cannabis, the ever changing cannabis laws in California, and the lack of public awareness surrounding the therapeutic effects CBD has to offer.

How did you overcome these challenges?

In social media we are very selective in the words we choose so we do not get shut-down.  This is our biggest media outlet to educate women on what to use for their specific ailment.  We have no control over the the California cannabis laws and we just hope one day the FDA sets national regulations.

To create public awareness, we work hard to direct traffic to our website where women can learn the difference between Marijuana and Hemp and have access to a full education on how CBD works!

wink+cbd

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

One word:  TESTIMONIALS.  Every time a customer writes a note thanking me for helping them, I feel complete. I am creating natural, healthy products and women everywhere are thriving.  We post many of our testimonials on our website that relate to alleviating drug addiction, chronic pain, anxiety, migraines, sleep disorders, auto-immune diseases, cramps, acne, etc; the list goes on.  This is what keeps me motivated every single day.

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I stay true to the foundation of why I started W!NK - empowering women one product at a time. I do this by creating top quality products that are safe, all natural and priced affordably.   We provide a full education behind our products, post our lab results and offer in-store training sessions to our customers.  I also personally formulated the ingredients in most of my products so the formulations are proprietary!  

What is the best advice you have received recently?

The best advice I've received lately was last weekend at an emotional intelligence conference I attended.  I learned to turn "have to" into "I am blessed to" . I do not have to go to work everyday.  I am blessed to go to work every day!  I am learning simple ways to make positive changes to impact my life and those around me. 

wink%2Bcbd

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

Knowing that marijuana is federally an illegal product, I wish I new more about the analogy "The Wild Wild West" associated with it.  Being the trusting person that I am, I used most of my initial personal investment to buy oil from a supplier who provided me with false test results.

Due to my business ethics, I had the oil tested for quality assurance.  The oil came back with pesticides.  To this date I have not received my money back from the supplier and I destroyed the oil.  I learned that California regulations do not provide any protection and from that point on I had to seriously qualify every single business partner I work with today.  I found diamonds in the rough!   


 
wink cbd

where to find w!nk:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

#Girlcrush - Kaitlyn Horvath

We had the pleasure of interviewing graphic designer Kaitlyn Horvath! Read her interview below and check out her work here.

kaitlyn horvath girlcrush

Tell us about yourself and your business!

My name is Kaitlyn and I run my own Design Studio! I’m an alumni of the 3 year design program at Macewan University here in Edmonton where I began my journey into Graphic Design. I have been crafting design solutions that elevate and transform brands for 5 years and counting! l’m passionate about getting to the heart of people and their businesses and reflecting it throughout their brand through beautiful design. My expertise include branding, collateral, website design and more. 

What inspired you to start your own business?

After University I started freelancing on the side during my full-time job and I really enjoyed the one-on-one relationship I created with my clients. I worked in fashion consulting prior to freelancing and that’s where I learnt about forming these bonds where my clients would come back to me for personable and quality service. I always wanted to be my own boss, I like the independency so I thought to myself “I really have something here – I’m going to give it a shot!” and that leap of faith is where it all got started!

kaitlyn horvath

Is this your full time job?

It is!

How do you structure your days?

Monday to Friday is when I run my business. I give myself weekends to relax and recharge (my creatives know that downtime is essential.) Daytime I’m designing, communicating with clients and doing admin duties. But let’s be real, I’m not 100% structured with my days. I get these spikes of energy late-night and I’m wide eyed like an owl till 2:00 A.M. updating my portfolio or working on a project that I’m really passionate about! 

Where and how do you work best?

I work from home usually. Sometimes I’ll go to a cafe, plug-in my headphones and indulge in gourmet lattes, mmm. But I work best at home! I can blast my music, open the windows, let the sun and breeze in and work from my beautiful desk. I enjoy taking breaks at home – eating snacks and playing with my two kitties.

Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?

Not at this moment but I’ve been working on a little something – stay tuned!

kaitlyn+horvath

Where is your business based?

I’m based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?

  1. Building my clientele

  2. Refining my business processes – client management, design execution, portfolio, contract, all that good stuff.

  3. Believing in myself and my abilities to make it a full-time career, which took a lot of guts!

What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers?

My clients mostly come through word of mouth/referrals or Instagram! So building lasting relationships with my clients that make them want to spread the word about my work is the most effective way I get new clientele. 

kaitlyn horvath

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

I would have to say boundaries. Shout out to all my recovering people pleasers! Don’t get me wrong, I love making my clients happy and going beyond just “good customer service.” But I had to learn to say no to things that weren’t serving me and giving me unneeded stresses.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I now literally have a ‘boundaries’ portion in my Welcome Package for my clients (it’s simple things!) This just keeps our relationship clear and they might not even realize they’re overstepping them.

How do you keep motivated through tough times?

I have a list of things to check off daily so if I’m unmotivated, I have to check myself and just power on. Even if I’m not feeling it, I’m still running a business at the end of the day. That’s why those two days on the weekend are essential for me to recharge and realign myself.

How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?

I would have to say my ability to connect on a personal level. I want my clients to get to know not only my work, but myself as a fellow human! Also your portfolio is the utmost importance in my field and I feel my body of work clearly reflects my creativity, professionalism and quality work. 

What is the best advice you have received recently?

I’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Futur’ episodes while I work and they are a gold mine for advice! The most impactful one to me recently was Chris Do speaking about consistency in your to-do list and everyday you increase productivity, efficiency and focus. At the end of the month you do a recalibration exercise to review what’s happened in the month – Have we reached our goals? What did we do well? What could we do better?

kaitlyn+horvath

What do you wish you had known when you started your business?

I can’t think of anything I wish I had known. I started my business first and foremost because of my passion for design and people. Everything that followed I learnt along the way, by trial and error and advice from fellow business owners. 

Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?

The OG’s – Massimo Vignelli and Paul Rand. Jessica Walsh and Stefan Sagmeister. I’m also influenced and inspired by fellow designers, creatives and entrepreneurs! I love seeing others work and passions, that fuels my fire to continue my journey and grow to the best I can be. 

kaitlyn horvath

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Do what you’re passionate about! Trust your abilities, follow your heart, push boundaries and never take no for an answer. Learn from your mistakes and use them to improve personally and in your business!

What business tools/resources could you not work without?

Adobe software for everything. Pinterest and Behance for inspiration. My sketchpad and yearly planner. Instagram. Is coffee a tool/resource!?

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

I’ve learnt that self discipline and confidence is so important. You’re the only one who can hold yourself back from opportunities and improvement. Being confident in myself and stepping out of my comfort zone is something I’m still learning everyday!

Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?

Jeez, I want to grow in every area – clientele, skills, logistics, all of it! A 5 year goal of mine is to host workshops for biz owners to learn about the importance and value of branding and how to implement it within their businesses successfully.